Research from Wales has highlighted the extraordinary lengths homebuyers are willing to go to in order to stand a chance of securing purchases in today’s market of extraordinary demand. Is it a sign of things to come across the whole UK?
The BBC is reporting that homebuyers in Wales are submitting offers on homes they haven’t even viewed, meaning that people are now buying homes before stepping foot inside them. This is the scale of demand in today’s manic market.
House prices across the UK have risen at an extraordinary rate, the average house now costs more than £330,000, but nowhere have they risen more than in Wales where prices are currently 11% higher than this time last year.
In one Welsh town, Aberdare, Rhondda Cynon Taf, demand for homes is so high that people are queuing overnight outside estate agent offices, and houses throughout the country are selling for £20,000 to £30,000 over the asking price.
This latter trend is also happening across the UK, where roughly 14% of homes are selling above asking price. But this new phenomenon of buying before viewing is something that is yet to become common outside of Wales.
But it’s reasonable to assume it’s a trend that, before long, will start trickling through all of the UK as the demand and desperation of the Welsh market start to spread.
Forced into taking extraordinary risks
Buying a home without ever seeing it is unprecedented for everyone other than professional developers or house flippers. The risks of doing so are far too high for the general buyer. Without viewing a property, you’re relying entirely on the agent’s marketing materials to tell you what you need to know about the property.
This marketing material is designed to make the house appealing. As such, it rarely covers aspects of the property which are less than desirable. This includes any structural issues and also any environmental issues such as nearby busy roads.
Buying without viewing is a fast track to disappointment and financial woe and should be avoided at all costs. So to see so many buyers taking this risk speaks volumes about the current state of the market.
Buyers are being forced into acts of desperation because there is far too much competition for homes. But it’s important to remember that, if a blind purchase goes wrong in any way, the only loser in the deal is the buyer. The seller wins, the agents win, the lenders win, the government and the economy win; only the buyer loses.
With no sign of demand dropping or supply increasing any time soon, many buyers believe they have no other choice. All we can say is, proceed with great caution.